Visa Services
Duke University School of Medicine School of Nursing Health System International House
Visa Application and Entry into the U.S.

F-1/J-1 Student Visa Process Flow Chart

As you prepare for your travel to the United States you may have questions about the visa application process before you leave your country, the port of entry process upon your arrival in the U.S., and what to do once you get to Duke. We have prepared this FAQ to give you basic information. Remember that you and Duke must work with two U.S. government agencies for you to enter the U.S.

  • The Department of State (DOS) manages visa application processes outside the U.S.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handles admission at the port of entry (POE).

We will also use two basic terms to refer to foreign nationals coming to Duke.

  • "Student" refers to a fully admitted student or a student coming from his/her home school to do "study abroad" or similar short-term study in the U.S.
  • "Scholar" refers to professors, researchers, lecturers, specialists, professional staff, and similar persons who will be involved primarily in academic activities or otherwise employed at Duke.

1. I have been admitted to Duke as a student or accepted at Duke for a teaching, research, or employment position. How do I get visa documents to come to the U.S.? How do I find housing and get settled in?
2. What kinds of documents will I receive?
3. Who controls my documents? When will they be sent to me? How long will it take for me to get my documents?
4. Why is Duke taking 15 days to send documents? I need my documents faster than that. I have heard that it may take a long time to get a visa stamp and I want to start as early as possible. This is really important to me. How can I get my documents faster? Surely there must be a way.
5. What about health certificates, immunizations, or global concerns about contagious diseases?
6. Once I get my documents, how do I apply for a visa stamp?
7. Is there an application form?
8. What is the purpose of these forms? How should I answer the questions? What do the consular officers want to know? What are the best answers to be sure I get a visa stamp?
9. I have heard that it is difficult to get a visa stamp and that it is especially hard to get the F or J visa stamp. What can I expect? What will the consular officer want to hear from me or see in my application?
10. What do I need to take with me to the U.S. embassy or consulate? Must I go in person? Can I do this by mail?
11. Can Duke give me an extra letter or document to explain to the consular officer how important this is to me and to ensure that I get a visa stamp?
12. How do I prepare for my departure?
13. How far in advance can I book my travel? Anything special I need to know?
14. What happens at the port of entry (POE)?
15. I have gotten through the port of entry, I have made my connecting flights, and I am finally in Durham. Now what do I do? How do I: find a place to sleep for the night; find housing; get my telephone and utilities connected; get my children into school; and a dozen other things?
16. I still have questions about this. Who can answer my questions?
 
1. I have been admitted to Duke as a student or accepted at Duke for a teaching, research, or employment position. How do I get visa documents to come to the U.S.? How do I find housing and get settled in?
 

First, congratulations, and welcome to Duke!

The International House web site has lots of information on orientation and settling into the Durham area. Contact them well before you plan to travel. They can help you make a smooth move to the U.S. Visit http://www.studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse

The Visa Services web site has lots of information on visas and related matters. This FAQ appears on Visa Services web site. The home page is http://www.visaservices.duke.edu/

In this FAQ we will discuss the general visa steps from your date of admission or invitation until you arrive at Duke. We will address some of them in more detail below.

1. Your school or department will send you Part 2 of the Request for Temporary Visa Form (RTVF). You will receive only Part 2, not Part 1. You need to complete Part 2, sign it, and return it to your school or department at the address they specify.

2. Your school or department will complete Part 1 of the RTVF describing your intended activities at Duke.

3. After receiving Part 2 from you, the school or department will send the complete RTVF, Parts 1 and 2, to Visa Services to let us know that you have been admitted or invited to Duke and the details of your visit.

4. After we receive both Part 1 and Part 2 from the school or department we will prepare your visa documents.

5. We will send your visa documents to you at the address you specified on the RTVF.

6. You must use those original documents to apply for your visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate. [Note: Canadian citizens are not required to get visa stamps.]

7. You must use your passport, visa stamp, and the visa documents we send you to apply at a U.S. port of entry for admission into the U.S. in the proper nonimmigrant status. [Note: Canadian citizens are not required, at this time, to present passports when entering the U.S. from the Western Hemisphere, but we strongly recommend that they obtain and carry passports. Both the Canadian and the U.S. governments are being more careful regarding proper identification for those crossing the border in either direction.]

8. You arrive in Durham and check in with Visa Services, International House, and your school or department.

Now, on to the details.

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2. What kinds of documents will I receive?
 

Like many governments, the U.S. government uses letters and numbers to
designate specific forms. In general the documents will identify you, your
relationship to Duke, the duration of your visit, and your source(s) and
amount(s) of funding. Here are the ones most often seen on a university
campus.

VISA TYPE PRIMARY ACTIVITY FORM OR DOCUMENT
F-1 Student I-20
J-1 Student, scholar, physician trainee DS-2019
H-1B Temporary worker I-797 Approval Notice
O-1 Outstanding professor/researcher I-797 Approval Notice

TN-Canada

TN-Mexico

Employee under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Appointment letter for initial entry. An I-797 approval notice if an extension has been granted.
H-1B1 - Free Trade-Chile and Singapore Employee under the Free Trade Agreement with each country. Note that the H-1B1 is not the same as the H-1B, and not the same as the TN. Appointment letter.
ETA-9037 Labor Condition Attestation. An I-797 approval notice if an extension has been granted.
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3. Who controls my documents? When will they be sent to me? How long will it take for me to get my documents?
 

The management and timeline on your documents depends on the kind of visa stamp you will be getting. Some documents are under Duke's direct control and others are not. The following chart will give you basic information. Regarding the time line, remember that Visa Services begins counting from the date that we have everything from your school admissions office or from your department that we need to issue your document or file it with DHS. Students and scholars should not send us a partial or incomplete form or set of documents so that we can "get started." We will not begin work on such files. Completed forms must be returned to your school or department. If you and your school or department have done your forms and documentation properly you deserve our attention first, before those who have not been so careful or accurate. Do not start counting from the day you put things in the mail. IMPORTANT WARNING = DO NOT MAKE YOUR TRAVEL PLANS OR AIRPLANE RESERVATIONS BASED ON THESE TIMES. These are only estimates. Wait until you have the documents and the appropriate visa stamp in hand before you make travel plans.

VISA TYPE WHO CONTROLS TIME
E-3 Australia

1. Duke obtains a Labor Condition Attestation (ETA-9035) clearance.

2. Duke sends an appointment letter and the approved ETA-9035 to you.

75 days

 

15 days

F-1 student Duke issues the I-20 and sends it to you directly. 20 days
J-1 student or scholar under Duke's J-1 program Duke issues the DS-2019 and sends it to you directly. 20 days
J-1 physician under ECFMG sponsorship for clinical training

1. Duke files a request with ECFMG.

2. ECFMG issues the DS-2019 and sends it to Duke.

3. Duke adds information and forwards the packet to you.

2 months

1-2 months

15 days

J-1 student or scholar under another J-1 program That program sponsor issues the DS-2019 and sends it to you. Examples: Fulbright, USAID, AMIDEAST, LASPAU Check with the J sponsor.
H-1B

1. Duke obtains a labor clearance and files a petition with DHS.

2. DHS adjudicates the petition and notifies Duke and the U.S. embassy or consulate. Processing time varies depending on the kind of filing.

3. Duke sends the approval notice to you.

75 days

 

5 months

 

15 days

~8 months total

O-1

1. Duke files a petition with DHS.

2. DHS adjudicates the petition and notifies Duke and the U.S. embassy or consulate. Processing time varies depending on the kind of filing.

3. Duke sends the approval notice to you.

15-30 days

5 months.

 

 

15 days

TN-Canada

TN-Mexico

Duke sends you an appropriate appointment letter with instructions. 15 days
H-1B1. Free Trade - Chile and Singapore. Note, this is not the same as the H-1B, and not the same as the TN.

1. Duke obtains a Labor Condition Attestation (ETA-9035) clearance.

2. Duke sends an appointment letter and the approved ETA-9035 to you.

75 days

 

15 days

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4. Why is Duke taking 15 days to send documents? I need my documents faster than that. I have heard that it may take a long time to get a visa stamp and I want to start as early as possible. This is really important to me. How can I get my documents faster? Surely there must be a way.
 

We know that for all of you, getting your documents and applying for your visa stamp is important. We process requests in the order that we receive them if they are complete and have all the necessary supporting documents.

For the F and the J under Duke's control, consider the 15-day processing time quoted above as firm. We must produce those documents out of a federal government database. Sometimes we can do that almost immediately. Sometimes there are data base delays on the government side that we cannot control. Plan on 15 days and be pleasantly surprised if processing is faster.

For the ECFMG and other J programs and for the H-1B and O-1, note that most of the process is not under Duke's control. DHS controls the H-1B and O-1 and those processing times can take months. DHS offers a very expensive ($1,225) Premium Processing Service (PPS) that can usually reduce the processing time at DHS to about 20 days. Generally only the department can request PPS, not the alien employee. Only your department can decide if PPS is appropriate in your case. If you have question about that, you may wish to contact your Duke department.

We assume that standard international airmail will take at least 15 days. We can mail items to you by express mail if you or your school or department is willing to pay express mail charges. You need to make express mail arrangements with your school or department and they will advise Visa Services of how they want the documents mailed.

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5. What about health certificates, immunizations, or global concerns about contagious diseases?
 

There are three primary areas of concern.

  • Have you provided all of the health information and vaccination certificates that Duke requires? If you are an incoming student, you were given instructions in that regard with your admission material. Follow those instructions and contact the admissions office of your school if you have questions. If your are coming as a scholar contact your department regarding any Duke health clearances you might need before or after you arrive. In particular physicians, nurses, and other health care workers coming into clinical areas should contact their Duke supervisors for specific requirements.
  • Do you need health clearances to apply for or be granted a visa stamp? You need to check directly with the U.S. embassy or consulate to learn if there are any special provisions in effect at the time that you apply. You may also visit the travel warning and health information webs sites for
  • Will there be difficulties or quarantine when you enter the U.S.? All ports of entry have the right to review the health of travelers and to isolate persons if necessary. However, such actions are very rare. The organizations that generally have the most up-to-date information on such actions are the airlines. Airlines make the same scheduled flights to the same cities repeatedly. Check first with the airline you are using to find out what its recent experience has been on the flight you plan to take.
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6. Once I get my documents, how do I apply for a visa stamp?
 

Even before you receive your visa documents from Duke, you may want to visit the U.S. Department of State (DOS) web site for general information.

General information main web site

http://www.state.gov/

Consular Affairs

http://travel.state.gov/index.html

Visa application process

http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html

Visa application processing times

http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html

Information on specific types of visas (F, J, H, O, TN, etc.)

http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1270.html

Countries with "passport validity" agreements

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/104770.pdf

Links to web pages for U.S. consular posts

http://www.state.gov/

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7. Is there an application form?
 

There are several forms. For a list of forms see

http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_1342.html

Everyone must complete Form DS-160. Call or visit the web site of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your area for specifics. If you can complete the forms on-line, the system assigns a bar code, which may help the consular post process your application more efficiently. However, you are not required to complete the form on-line, and may simply print the form and fill it in by hand.

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8. What is the purpose of these forms? How should I answer the questions? What do the consular officers want to know? What are the best answers to be sure I get a visa stamp?
 

You will notice that forms collect basic information about who you are, where you have lived and worked, your planned activities in the U.S., previous visits to the U.S., family members in the U.S., and so on. Answer the questions truthfully. Do not try to "second guess" or predict what the officer might think about this answer or that one. Just answer the questions to the best of your knowledge and ability, but do not "tell your life story" and add so much information that you complicate your situation. The consular officer must look at all of this information to determine if you are eligible for the visa classification that you want, and whether any part of your application needs further review or clarification.

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9. I have heard that it is difficult to get a visa stamp and that it is especially hard to get the F or J visa stamp. What can I expect? What will the consular officer want to hear from me or see in my application?
 

Consular officers will be looking at 4 major areas to determine if you are eligible for a visa stamp:

  • What is your home country or other countries in which you have lived? Citizens or residents of certain countries, such as those that the U.S. government has identified as sponsors of terrorism, must have their applications reviewed closely, and may have to complete additional forms.
  • How does your intended study or work relate to the Technology Alert List (TAL) or "sensitive areas?" The TAL lists fields of study or expertise in which the U.S. wants to limit exports of certain technologies. Although in the past most of these have related to military applications, supercomputing, and certain kinds of engineering, the list has been revised in recent years to include a number of science and engineering areas that might relate to chemical, biological, nuclear, or cyber weapons, or terrorism. If you will be studying at the graduate level or doing research in one of these areas, the consular officer will have to review your application closely in this regard. While it may seem ridiculous that a graduate student in botany or a researcher in urban planning would be a "security" or "export control" risk, consular officers are required by current law to follow certain review procedures. This kind of review can take several weeks.
  • What are your intentions after you finish your program in the U.S.? The F and J visas, the TN-Canada/Mexico, and the Free Trade (H-1B1)-Chile/Singapore require "nonimmigrant intent." If you are applying for an F or J visa stamp, the burden is upon you to show that you have sufficiently strong ties to your home country to cause you to return there after you complete your education or research. If the officer believes that you do not intend to return home, or that you may use the F or J status as a way of entering the U.S. in order to stay here, the officer must deny the visa stamp application based on your "immigrant intent." This decision belongs entirely to the consular officer. If you are coming from a country that historically has a high "non-return" rate, then your burden of proof will be more difficult. You will have to convince the officer that you are the exception to the statistics that your fellow countrymen have already established. Similarly, if you are coming from a country with current economic, political, or civil difficulties, you will have a heavy burden of proof to show that you are not just "escaping" conditions in your country. This seems like a harsh law, but remember that the intention of the law, which was passed in 1952, has always been to promote "exchange," not immigration. Note that the "nonimmigrant intent" rule does not apply to the H-1B, so the H-1B does not have to prove ties to the home country. The H-1B may have "dual intent" - the intention to come to the U.S. temporarily and perhaps to stay longer later in some other visa classification. (Warning. Do not confuse the H-1B with the Free Trade H-1B1 for Chile and Singapore.) The O-1 does not have a specific "dual intent" provision, but the O-1 does not require proof of strong ties to the home country.
  • Your F or J data in the SEVIS/consular database. If you are applying for an F or J visa stamp, the officer must be able to locate your "SEVIS" data in the consular database. SEVIS is the federal database that Duke and other schools use to generate your I-20 for F status or your DS-2019 for J status. If Duke has issued an I-20 or a DS-2019 to you or to members of your family, then that data is in the SEVIS database. If the consular officer cannot find it, it means that DHS or DOS has not yet transferred that data from SEVIS to the other database to which consular officers have access. If we express mail your documents to you, you may receive them before the data transfer. If you go to the U.S. embassy or consulate immediately, they may not be able to find your data. It should transfer in a few days. If the transfer takes longer than one week from the issue date of the I-20 or DS-2019, let us know at Visa Services and we will ask DHS and DOS to verify the data transfer. Remember, if you hold the I-20 or the DS-2019, Duke has already placed your data in the database and we cannot control the transfer schedule within the government.
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10. What do I need to take with me to the U.S. embassy or consulate? Must I go in person? Can I do this by mail?
 

Each post is allowed to manage its own processing details. You must contact the U.S. embassy or consulate to learn whether you must go in person or whether part of the paperwork can be done by mail. In general, at minimum, you will need to show:

  • A valid passport, which will be valid for at least six months beyond the date you plan to enter the U.S. If your current passport is about to expire, you may need to get a new passport before you apply for a visa stamp. The consular post can give you more details. Under passport agreements between the U.S. and some countries your passport may be considered valid for six months beyond its end date. (See Q6 for web links.) However, relying on this agreement for a passport that has expired or is about to expire is very risky. If anything changes your travel dates you could be stuck with no valid passport. We strongly encourage you to have a passport that is valid well into the future before you apply for your visa stamp and travel to the U.S.
  • Your I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 approval notice showing Duke visa sponsorship of your intended stay in the U.S. If you are entering as an F-1 for the first time, you must use the I-20 of the school you plan to attend. For example, if you received I-20s from two or more schools, you should not get the visa stamp using the I-20 for one school and then use the I-20 of another school for entry into the U.S. If you get your visa stamp and then decide to go to a different school, you will need to check with the U.S. embassy or consulate on whether and how to get your visa stamp amended. Read page 2 of the I-20 for more information.
  • Evidence that you have paid the SEVIS fee if you are applying for an F or J visa stamp. Those applying for H or O do not pay the SEVIS fee. For details on the fee and how to pay it on-line and get a receipt on-line see the DHS web site at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm
  • Evidence of funding sufficient for your stay in the U.S. Even though Duke may be funding you or you may have already provided funding evidence to Duke, you still need to provide that evidence to the consular officer. Take bank statements, employment letters, graduate assistantship letters, and so on. Duke cannot return financial documents to you that you sent to meet Duke requirements. Those must remain in our file, so you may need to get new documents for the visa stamp application.
  • Evidence of nonimmigrant intent if you are applying for an F or J visa stamp. Take documentary evidence of your ties to your home country. A few examples - a family business to which you may return, a job offer available upon your return, description of how your education and experience in the U.S. will make you marketable for jobs in your home country, etc. Note that it is not sufficient to say, "My family lives here. Of course, I will come back." In truth, most students, researchers, and faculty coming to Duke are at a stage in their personal and professional lives when they are not likely to return home to "live with Mom and Dad." Loving your family and your country are normal feelings for most people traveling abroad. That affection in no way guarantees that you will return home immediately after your F, J, TN, or H-1B1 program is finished.
  • Q11. What if the consular officer sends me away to get more documentation? I may be delayed. I may miss the first days of class or work. What if my visa stamp is denied and I cannot come at all? Can I defer my attendance at school? Can I delay my teaching or research until I can reapply for a visa stamp?

If you are admitted as a student and you are delayed, you need to contact your school regarding how late you can arrive and still attend classes or whether you have deferral options.

If you are a scholar you need to contact your department to discuss options.

If you will be entering in J-1 status as a student or scholar or in F-1 status as a student and you will be delayed beyond the start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019, you need to let us and your school or department know as soon as possible. In most cases a delay beyond the start date on the DS-2019 requires that we update your start date in SEVIS and issue a fresh DS-2019 with the new start date. A delay beyond the start date on the I-20 may require issuance of a new form, depending on how long you will be delayed.

If you are ultimately denied a visa stamp the consular officer must give you the reason in writing. If you send us a copy of that document we will try to help you understand why you were denied a visa stamp.

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11. Can Duke give me an extra letter or document to explain to the consular officer how important this is to me and to ensure that I get a visa stamp?
 

There is no "magic" letter or document that we can give you to guarantee a visa stamp. Our discussions with consular officers and our experience has shown that additional letters cannot tell the officer anything new that will be helpful for your case. You already have admission or invitation letters and documents to show that Duke really wants you here for study, teaching, research, and so on. You already have evidence of funding. And you must provide evidence of your nonimmigrant intent - Duke cannot do that. Your best approach is to be prepared, and to fill out forms and answer questions truthfully.

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12. How do I prepare for my departure?
 

We recommend that you organize your passport and all of your visa documents and supporting documents in one place so that they are easy to find and manage. Prepare a separate small package for each family member that contains:

  • Valid passport with a proper, currently valid, visa stamp.
  • Form I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 approval notice, and the letters and instructions that came with them from Visa Services.
  • Draft Forms I-94 already filled out to make it easy to do the I-94 cards on the plane. If you enter the U.S. by Air or Sea after 4/30/2013, you may not receive a paper Form I-94. Please go to www.cbp.gov/I94 (active as of 4/30/2013) and print a copy of your electronic Form I-94. See Q15.
  • Evidence that you have paid the SEVIS fee if your are entering in F or J status. See Q10.
  • Evidence of funding as appropriate to the visa classification and your intended activities in the U.S.
  • Contact information for International House.
  • Contact information for your Duke school or department.
  • Contact information for Visa Services.

Before you board the plane make sure you have those packets with you, on your person, not in your checked luggage.

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13. How far in advance can I book my travel? Anything special I need to know?
 

Two factors control when you can travel to the U.S. - your visa stamp and the starting date on your visa document.

You must have the visa documents, a passport, and a visa stamp to enter the U.S. While it may be cheaper to book your travel far in advance, you are taking a big risk. If you do not have a visa stamp, you cannot travel, and you may lose money canceling and rebooking. We strongly recommend that you wait until you have the visa stamp in your passport before you book your travel.

Those entering in F and J status may enter no more than 30 days before the start date on your visa document (I-20 or DS-2019). If you attempt to travel earlier than that the airline can refuse to carry you, and the U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry can refuse to let you in and send you back home on the next plane.

Those entering in other visa classes such as H-1B, O-1, or TN may generally enter 10 days before the start date on their documents. Port of entry officers have allowed a little flexibility in the past for earlier entry, but times have changed. Do not assume that you can enter more than 10 days early, just because you heard about someone who did in the past.

Be sure to book your travel so that you have several hours between your arrival time at the port of entry and any connecting flights that get you to Durham. See Q16 below.

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14. What happens at the port of entry (POE)?
 

The port where you first enter the U.S. and check in with the immigration officer is called the "port of entry" or POE. The destination for most of our students and scholars is Durham, NC, but some people come to our facilities in other parts of the country. If you are coming to Durham, your POE may be the Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airport or it may be an airport at a larger city with a connecting flight to RDU. For example, you might fly into Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Miami, and do the immigration work there before you continue to RDU.

At the POE you will stand in a line for persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. You will need to present all of your visa documents.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/national/04262013_4.xml

At this point it is too late to remember to take all of your visa documents out of that very secure place in your checked luggage, which is probably far away in the Customs area by now and completely unavailable. Remember, per Q13 above, you should have your documents with you.

The officer will review your documents and may ask you a few questions. As part of the biometric data collection that many countries are doing, you may be asked to give two fingerprints as well.

If you are entering in F or J status, the officer will probably ask you to step out of the line and go into the office for additional review of your documents. Don't panic! This is standard procedure for F and J. The officer must either scan the bar code on your I-20 or DS-2019 or manually enter your file number to update your SEVIS record. It may take some time to do this, and you will be glad that you planned extra time between the arrival and connecting flights. (See Q13 above.)

If you are entering in F or J status, and everything is in order, the officer will stamp your passport with your date of entry, will write in your visa classification (e.g. F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2), and will indicate the date by which you must leave the U.S. as "D/S," which stands for "Duration of Status." If your passport is marked D/S, you are permitted to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your educational or scholarly program as long as you maintain your lawful F or J status. Your specific departure date is determined by the end date on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, and by the date that you end your study or scholarly activity. We will give you more information about this when you arrive and register in Visa Services. If you enter in F or J status and the stamp you receive in your passport at the port of entry has a departure date instead of D/S, be sure to let us know as soon as you arrive at Duke; this may be an error that requires correction.

If you are entering in H or O status, and everything is in order, the officer will stamp your passport with your date of entry, will write in your visa classification (e.g. H-1B, H-4, O-1, O-3), and will indicate the date by which you must leave the U.S. Usually this date matches the ending date on your I-797 approval notice, but if your passport expires before the end date on the I-797, then the officer may be required to admit you only until the end date of your passport. If the passport and the I-797 end dates do not match, then you need to call that to the attention of the immigration officer - in a polite way. If the situation does not permit a correction there at the POE, do not worry about it. Just make sure you let us know in Visa Services when you register.

Regardless of your visa classification, make sure that the visa class on your passport is the same as that on your visa stamp and visa document. This table will help you determine the documents you need.

VISA DOCUMENT VISA STAMP I-94 NOTATION
I-20 for F-1 principal F-1 F-1 with D/S
I-20 for F-2 family F-2 F-2 with D/S
DS-2019 for J-1 principal J-1 J-1 with D/S
DS-2019 for J-2 family J-2 J-2 with D/S

I-797 for principal H-1B or

O-1, and sometimes TN.

Family members

H-1B, O-1

H-4, O-3, TD

H-1B, O-1 with a departure date

H-4, O-3, TD with a departure date

Appointment letter for

TN-Canada/Mexico

Family members

No visa stamp required for Canadian citizens. Mexican citizens must get a TN visa stamp.

TD for Mexican citizens.

TN with a departure date

TD with a departure date

Appointment letter and approved ETA-9037 Labor Condition Attestation for Free Trade Chile and Singapore H-1B1.

Family members.

H-1B1. Do not confuse with H-1B above.

H-4.

H-1B1 with a departure date

H-4. with a departure date

The last thing the officer will do before you leave is to provide you with a sheet with additional instructions on the Form I-94 automation process. You will need this form to request a Social Security or Driver's License. Details about the automation of Form I-94 can be found at: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/national/04262013_4.xml .

You will not be able to print the automated I-94 at the airport but as soon as you arrive on campus, find a computer lab on campus and print this form. The Mass Registration handout you received with your visa document will provide computer lab locations.

You will also go through Customs at the POE to be sure that you are not bringing in forbidden items such as food, plants, animals, firearms, or drugs.

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15. I have gotten through the port of entry, I have made my connecting flights, and I am finally in Durham. Now what do I do? How do I: find a place to sleep for the night; find housing; get my telephone and utilities connected; get my children into school; and a dozen other things?
 

Stop for a moment and congratulate yourself on managing a very complicated process. When you have had a time to catch your breath, remember that you need to check in with three offices:

  • International House will help you with settling in and give you more information about orientation. Per Q1, you should have contacted International House earlier for help with the transition to Duke.
  • Your school or department will have information on getting registered, employed, or otherwise connected to Duke.

If you are a new student you should plan to attend the mass registration scheduled for your school or group as noted in the information sent to you.

If you are a physician who will receive training at the house staff level you need to check in with the Office of Graduate Medical Education (http://gme.duke.edu/about-gme) and plan to attend the orientation scheduled for your department or division.

If you are a registered nurse you need to contact your nurse manager regarding your orientation.

If you will be employed you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). The Visa Services and International House will help you with that. Please do not attempt to get the SSN on your own, as an improper filing could delay getting the number for many months.

  • The Visa Services, will review you documents, register you in the international records, and verify that everything is in order, so you may begin your activities with Duke. When you come to Visa Services remember to bring your passport, your automatic Form I-94 printout, and all of your visa documents.

If you are an employee and have made an appointment to register, allow about 30 minutes to complete the process in our office.

If you are a student, you will usually need to attend one of the orientation sessions organized by International House or come to one of the group registrations we do for students at Visa Services. You can also complete the E-Registration (ppsx) and bring your documents to our office between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

If you just "walk in" you may have to wait a while to see an adviser - remember that those who have appointments are seen first.

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16. I still have questions about this. Who can answer my questions?
 

Contact Visa Services by sending a message to VISAHELP@mc.duke.edu or call the office at 919-681-8472.

If you are a student or scholar in China, you may also find useful information at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators sponsored site http://www.nafsa.org/resourcelibrary/default.aspx?id=8806

Others may also find this site useful.

ALL OF US WELCOME YOU TO DUKE!

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